United Way at 50

For 50 years under various names, the United Way of Southeast Missouri has been doing good works. The United Way raises a significant portion of the money organizations in the region need to operate, leaving them to concentrate on improving the quality of life.

The local United Way has had only three executive directors in its history: J. Hugh Logan, Dorothy Klein and the current chief, Nancy Jernigan. It has grown from an all-volunteer organization that in 1954 raised $43,630 to help a few groups to one that last year raised more than $1 million on behalf of 32 organizations and programs.

Over the years, some of the area's busiest business leaders have set aside time to run campaigns or serve as members of the United Way board. But many people contribute in different ways.

Under Jernigan, the United Way is beginning a new phase. Along with the Community Caring Council, the United Way is attempting to take on the community's biggest problems: Lack of transportation, lack of access to medical care, and the need for more attention to substance abuse and family issues.

We applaud this activist approach to channeling donations to the organizations and people who need it most. Stronger than ever at 50, the United Way is an organization this community embraces and counts on.